Knicks Need To Seriously Consider Resting Isaiah Hartenstein

Isaiah Hartenstein, Knicks, NBA
Feb 29, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein (55) controls the ball against Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks have hit a rough patch in the last few weeks of the NBA season. After starting 2024 as one of the hottest teams in the league, they have cooled off considerably. A major reason for that has been the injuries they have been battling.

One of the players who has been trying to work through an injury but stay on the court is Isaiah Hartenstein. Hartenstein has been dealing with an Achilles issue for a few weeks that flared up for the first time in late January, costing him two games.

Before that point, an argument could have been made that Hartenstein was the best defensive player in the NBA. Between the time Mitchell Robinson got hurt, thrusting Hartenstein into the starting five, and when his Achilles issues popped up, he was performing beyond even the most optimistic of expectations.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Isaiah Hartenstein & New York Knicks Updates

Hartenstein was doing everything Robinson had been doing as the team’s anchor defensively and glass cleaner offensively. On top of that, he was providing some playmaking and even more versatility on defense given his comfortability of being on the perimeter.

As shared by Tommy Beer on X, Hartenstein had a plus/minus ratio of +200 over a 20-game sample as the team’s anchor. New York was under 110 points per 100 possessions allowed, playing elite defense.

But, that has unraveled since the Achilles issue. Hartenstein’s productivity has fallen off a cliff, which is expected when someone is attempting to play through an injury. In the 11 games he has played in since the injury, the Knicks have allowed 122.4 points per 100 possessions.

Things have gotten even worse since the NBA All-Star Break. New York has played five games and Hartenstein has posted the worst individual Defensive Rating on the team with a ghastly 126.4 per 100 possessions in the 81 minutes he has played.

Hampered by the injury, the Knicks need to shut Hartenstein down and allow him the rest he needs to get back into form. New York is missing a ton of pieces right now and Hartenstein is doing the admirable thing trying to be there for his teammates and help them win games.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Isaiah Hartenstein & New York Knicks Updates

Unfortunately, at this point, Hartenstein is doing more harm than good. Producing as little as he has been over the last two weeks has been a detriment to the team on the court. Tom Thibodeau doesn’t have many bodies to turn to in the frontcourt, which has put him and the team in a tough predicament.

It would behoove the Knicks to bring on a center for the foreseeable future, someone who can soak up minutes alongside Jericho Sims to allow Hartenstein the time he needs to rest. New York is in danger of falling into the NBA Play-In Tournament given their recent skid, but if they want any hope of making noise in the postseason, they need their rotation players healthy.

It isn’t an easy decision to make, but that likely means sitting Hartenstein. At some point, the Knicks have to save him from himself. He wants to be out there helping the team, but having him healthy and available in April for the NBA Playoffs is more important than him pushing through an injury in games in February and early March.

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